A leading Bangkok university delivered a series of hospitality skill-building workshops to local tourism service providers in the ecotourism front line at Botum Sakor national park, western Cambodia, 2-5 March 2019.
The workshop was conducted by Dr Scott Michael Smith from Assumption University’s Department of Hospitality and Tourism Management. The event, which took place at the Cardamom Tented Camp, was sponsored by YAANA Ventures, a Bangkok based sustainable tourism investor.
Twelve trekking guides, front office personnel, housekeepers, waiters, cooks and boat drivers, all from local villages and employed at the camp, benefited from the “Spirit of Hospitality” two-day training, which was led by project coordinator, Dr Scott Michael Smith, from Assumption University Thailand.
YAANA Ventures’ founder, Willem Niemeijer, said of the training: “Cardamom Tented Camp’s objective is to support the conservation efforts of Wildlife Alliance in cooperation with the local community. We, therefore, share the responsibility to ensure tourism is developed in a sustainable way, showing that it can make a positive contribution to conservation that involves and benefits the local community. Scott’s “Spirit of Hospitality Workshop” tackles the human resource issues and considers the hard and soft skills that are needed in the hospitality industry in order to preserve and prosper. Later this month, team members will participate in their second Red Cross training program to ensure the safety and security of guests and team members.”
Ahead of the workshop, Dr Smith prepared a “Spirit of Hospitality” Service Audit using new and established Key Performance Indicators and worked with management and staff to develop a training program to meet the needs of the lodge.
“Our objective was to identify opportunities to exceed customers’ expectations and create positive memory-making moments that surprise and delight all guests visiting Cardamom Tented Camp.” said Dr Smith.
The Cardamom Tented Camp is the realisation of a unique partnership between two NGO’s – Wildlife Alliance and the Golden Triangle Asian Elephant Foundation (created by Minor Group) – and YAANA Ventures, the operator of the camp. The partnership is committed to the conservation of 180 km2 of the ecologically diverse protected area by ending illegal poaching, logging and mining. To the north of the camp’s concession, the land is being cleared for commercial use. To the south, mono-culture rubber is being developed. The camp and the rangers it supports are therefore vital to keep the forest standing (and give indigenous wildlife a chance).
The Cardamom Tented Camp, a WTTC Tourism for Tomorrow Awards finalist this year, is a pioneering and responsible eco-lodge unlike any other in SE Asia.
The Cardamom Tented Camp is an excellent example of responsible development and provides valuable lessons for other resource-rich, lesser developed nations where conservation and economic development are the foundations of a green economy and part of the integrated philosophy for the national development of Cambodia.”
The plan is for the camp to continue to provide funds to the rangers to protect this incredibly biodiverse area for the entirety of the 50-year tourism lease. The 12 rangers have been working in the area since 2013 and have been responsible for a dramatic drop in hunting and a complete stop to illegal logging. In the five years, they have been patrolling the number of snares found has dropped from over 2,200 in the first year to less than 300 in 2018. Hunting with guns has stopped almost entirely. There has not been a chainsaw confiscated since 2014.